WASHINGTON

Former CIA director: Strike against Iran more likely

A former CIA director says military action against Iran now seems more likely because no matter what the U.S. does diplomatically, Tehran keeps pushing ahead with its suspected nuclear program.

Michael Hayden, a CIA chief under President George W. Bush, says that during his tenure a strike was “way down the list” of options. But he tells CNN’s “State of the Union” that such action now “seems inexorable.”

He predicts Iran will build its program to the point where it’s just below having an actual weapon. Hayden says that would be as destabilizing to the region as the real thing. U.S. officials have said military action remains an option if sanctions fail to deter Iran.

MONTICELLO, Iowa

Flooding causes millions of dollars in damages

Flooding from the Maquoketa River after the Lake Delhi dam failed has damaged dozens of homes and businesses, causing millions of dollars in damage in Monticello, officials said Sunday.

The Lake Delhi dam in eastern Iowa failed Saturday as rising floodwater from the Maquoketa River ate a 30-foot-wide hole in it. Areas below the dam, including in Hopkinton and Monticello were evacuated.

“It is simply unbelievable. This is unprecedented. We’ve had floods before and we’ve always been able to contain the situation and minimize the damage, but with Mother Nature’s fury there was no way to do anything about it,” said Mike Willey, president of the board of directors at the Lake Delhi Recreation Association.

The river crested upstream of the dam at Manchester early Saturday afternoon at 24.53 feet — more than 10 feet above flood stage and well above its 2004 record of 21.66 feet — before it began to slowly recede.

About 50 homes and 20 businesses had major flood damage and the city’s sewer plant had been flooded and shut down about 7 p.m. Saturday, said Monticello Public Works Director Dana Edwards.

SOUTH KOREA

U.S., South Korea use show of force to send message

Fighter jets buzzed the skies and submarines cruised underwater Sunday as a flotilla of U.S. and South Korean warships led by a nuclear-powered U.S. supercarrier began exercises that have enraged North Korea.

U.S. officials denied North Korea’s claims the maneuvers off Korea’s east coast were a provocation, but said they were meant to send a strong message over the sinking of a South Korean warship in March that left 46 sailors dead.

The drills, set to run through Wednesday, involve about 8,000 U.S. and South Korean troops, 20 ships and submarines and 200 aircraft. The USS George Washington, with several thousand sailors and dozens of fighter jets aboard, was deployed from Japan.

CARACAS, Venezuela

Chavez says he will stop oil to U.S. if Colombia attacks

President Hugo Chavez threatened Sunday to cut off oil sales to the United States if Venezuela is attacked by its U.S.-allied neighbor Colombia in a dispute over allegations Venezuela gives haven to Colombian rebels.

Chavez made his warning in an outdoor speech to thousands of supporters, saying: “If there is any armed aggression against Venezuela from Colombian territory or anywhere else supported by the Yankee empire, we would suspend shipments of oil to the United States!”

“We wouldn’t send another drop of oil to its refineries, not a single drop more!” Chavez shouted, adding that the United States is “the big one to blame for all the tension in this part of the world.”

DUISBURG, Germany

Police blame organizers for stampede at festival

Throngs of techno fans followed the floats, the dancers and the throbbing music to the festival venue: an old freight railway station that local media estimated could handle 300,000 people.

German media reported that as many as 1.4 million people showed up to the Love Parade, where a mass panic Saturday left 19 people crushed to death and 342 injured. Police blamed organizers and officials in Duisburg, an industrial city that gave the world’s largest techno music festival a home after it was driven from Berlin because of noise and overcrowding.

Witnesses, however, blamed police and private security staff, saying the panic broke out after they closed the end of a tunnel — the only entrance to the festival grounds — when the venue became too full. Police denied that and said they actually opened a second exit to disperse the masses before the accident happened.

It remained unclear Sunday what exactly triggered the panic, but it appeared that several people trying to escape the pushing crowds climbed up a steep metal stairway on a ramp in front of the tunnel and fell into the crowd. Amateur video footage showed thousands of festivalgoers crammed wall to wall, with some trying desperately to climb out. Police said nobody was killed inside the tunnel itself.

WELLINGTON, N.Z.

Boy in stable condition after falling 16 stories

A 15-year-old New Zealand boy has survived a 16-story plunge from the balcony of his family’s apartment onto a concrete floor.

New Zealand media reported today that the boy was playing on a balcony before he fell, dropping through the roof of a parking garage onto the concrete.

He was in stable condition at Auckland’s Middlemore Hospital with a broken wrist, a broken rib, gashed leg and internal injuries, the New Zealand Herald reported.

The newspaper said the garage roof — made of sheet iron and filled with insulation — may have broken his fall.

“God must have been with him. He’s got an angel looking after him, that’s for sure,” housekeeper Kaa Wehi, who was working in the building at the time, told the newspaper.